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I want to paint a bicycle.

Old 09-23-16, 03:30 PM
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Imabmwnut
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I want to paint a bicycle.

Hello I have 3 bicycles. 2014 Giant Roam 3. I have a 15 Kons Essato. And last but not least a 16 Trek Marlin7. Every one of these bikes are black. I ready don't like black as a base color. Also I've never painted a vehicle of any kind. I would like to paint one of them. Probably the Giand. How much of an undertaking is a task like this? I'm also a skydiver and my Parachute is Fluorescent orange. And every time I see a bright orange bike I have to look. I'm newly retired and would like to do this during the upcoming winter. I'm really tired of black bikes. Any help would be appreciated.
Layton.
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Old 09-23-16, 03:51 PM
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The question comes up from time to time. A few answers here:
Link
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Old 09-23-16, 03:56 PM
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I did my back-up bike with automotive rattle can paint with a 2 part rattle can clear coat. The 2 part paint can does say for sale to pros only but the auto paint store sold it to me - even suggested it for the hardness. I am pleased with the results and the durability seems ok but i ultimately decided against doing my main bike, for now anyway, which is more dear to me. It was a fun project I'm glad I did but others will list good reasons not to. Consider those carefully if the bike is special to you.
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Old 09-23-16, 04:29 PM
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If its going to be a show off type bike disassemble the bike and have somebody else do it. An auto place, motorcycle place, even consider having it powder coated if you can. It would depend on budget as well for me.


FWIW I have always wanted to chrome a bike....think it would be BA!!
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Old 09-23-16, 05:47 PM
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Definitely do a complete disassembly first. Trying to mask components left on the frame will bring unattractive results.

Strip the old paint off. There are several ways to do this:

- You can buy chemical paint stripper, sometimes called "aircraft stripper." It's not cheap, but not outrageously expensive. It is kind of labor intensive to use, but works quite well.

- You can take it somewhere to be blasted with plastic media. This is fairly expensive, but brings excellent results and is the least work for you.

- You can sand the old paint off yourself. This is cheap but extremely labor intensive.

Once you get the old paint off, it is critical to prep the surface correctly. It must be extremely clean, then primed with a good etch primer, and then ideally with a fill primer. Only after these steps are done should you apply any color coat. There are single stage paints that work quite well, and base/clear coat systems. Some people get good results with rattle cans, but they are not as good as professional grade paints applied with a spray gun. How much lower is the quality? It's a hard question to answer.

Alternatively, after prepping the frame, you can take it to get powder coated, or even powder coat it yourself at home. This is a somewhat more complicated and more expensive approach than painting, but gives a finish that looks nice and is extremely durable.

It really all depends on your expectations for the finished product. If you just want to make the frame orange, you can get some Scotchbrite pads, scuff up the old black paint, and hit it with a can of Krylon. You can do the whole job in a day, for the cost of a combo meal. It won't look great, and will easily scratch or chip. If you have a couple hundred dollars and/or lots of elbow grease to spend, you can get a really nice finish that will look good for years.

Last edited by Broctoon; 09-23-16 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 09-23-16, 08:15 PM
  #6  
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First start with the bike you care the least about and can have off the road the longest.


I suggest trying to chemically remove as much paint as you can with stripper. It's so much less frustrating then sanding those nocks and crannies, any lessening of the hand sanding will be greatly appreciated by your hands and lungs. If you turn out to professionally have the paint done (powder or wet) the more paint removal you do the less the painter will need to sand blast. The less blasting (with any media) the better. Many painters have the lowest paid person doing this step...


If you paint it yourself then consider applying the proper primer twice. The first coat will show you all the boo boos that you need to go back to and prep/fix some more. Then the second primer coat will result in a far better surface consistency.


Do know that since you had to ask here you don't yet have the skill to do a nice job. Hence my suggestion to do the least favorite bike first. This way when you do the good bike your skill level will be up to speed. Andy.
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Old 09-23-16, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Do know that since you had to ask here you don't yet have the skill to do a nice job. Hence my suggestion to do the least favorite bike first. This way when you do the good bike your skill level will be up to speed. Andy.
A bicycle isn't the easiest thing in the world to paint. First of all, since a tube has 4 sides so you have to spray each one from four directions to get complete coverage. Also, places like where the stays meet the seat tube are tricky to get full coverage without creating runs.
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Old 09-23-16, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Imabmwnut View Post
Hello I have 3 bicycles. 2014 Giant Roam 3. I have a 15 Kons Essato. And last but not least a 16 Trek Marlin7. Every one of these bikes are black. I ready don't like black as a base color. Also I've never painted a vehicle of any kind. I would like to paint one of them. Probably the Giand. How much of an undertaking is a task like this? I'm also a skydiver and my Parachute is Fluorescent orange. And every time I see a bright orange bike I have to look. I'm newly retired and would like to do this during the upcoming winter. I'm really tired of black bikes. Any help would be appreciated.
Layton.
Consider Decals
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Old 09-23-16, 09:25 PM
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Buy a cheap old bike off craigslist that already looks like junk. Strip it and try painting it. If you get good results, you'll probably be able to flip it for about what you put in to it. If it looks like total junk, you won't have trashed a good bike, and you can look into decals, blingy rims, and anodized parts.
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Old 09-23-16, 09:29 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
A bicycle isn't the easiest thing in the world to paint. First of all, since a tube has 4 sides so you have to spray each one from four directions to get complete coverage. Also, places like where the stays meet the seat tube are tricky to get full coverage without creating runs.
I couldn't agree more. I've know quite a few auto/moto painters who thought the world of themselves, yet when painting a bike they leave thin spots/drips/light and dark areas and a couple have run out of paint before finishing the second color coat. Working on flat panels is very different then the constantly changing and sometimes hard to cover surfaces of a frame. Andy
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Old 09-24-16, 07:40 AM
  #11  
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Maybe try some orange panels or tubes. Orange and Black go great together. I loved my old black bike because it was easy to touch up.
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Old 09-24-16, 09:54 AM
  #12  
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After literally 40 years of rattle can paint jobs I tried to do the brush paint job. Total fail and cost me ~$50 for all the materials and brushes. I went to a local low cost powdercoater that has a good reputation for doing bikes. I wanted orange, he showed some colors he had in stock, I picked one, $90 cash out-the-door including all prep (no need to strip the old paint).

WOW, best route for me, looks good from far and not too bad up close, much better than any/all rattle can jobs I've done and really durable.

I'll always go with powdercoating going forward. Comes out really nice and not too expensive. Getting ready to re-color my Soma Saga, it needs some PC pop!
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Old 09-24-16, 12:24 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Imabmwnut View Post
Every one of these bikes are black.
Side note: I'm also tired of the all-black trend in bikes and sports equipment in general. It seems to be currently worse in my country (Finland) than some other places. I don't mind some black - it does look cool and understated and sleek, but when it's the only color, it just gets depressing.

I got a new Trek Allant hybrid this summer, and the only option for my model of choice was black. Trek had a blue one, but the shop didn't, and it was late in the season, and I didn't want to wait for the other color. Most of the selection in the shop was black, regardless of manufacturer. Only the women's city bikes had some colors to choose from. So now I have a new black bike, in addition to old black bike. Managed to at least get a bright blue new jacket for riding - the sports clothing store also looked like they were dressing people for funerals.
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Old 09-24-16, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by gemini View Post
Side note: I'm also tired of the all-black trend in bikes and sports equipment in general. It seems to be currently worse in my country (Finland) than some other places. I don't mind some black - it does look cool and understated and sleek, but when it's the only color, it just gets depressing.
Colors come and they go. If you don't like the black trend, wait it out. I think there is a developing trend toward florescent colors. In a few years, black might start looking pretty good to you again.
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Old 09-25-16, 08:11 AM
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I have heard of decent rattle can paint jobs, but have never seen one myself. Every one that I have seen looked pretty bad up close. Save your time and money and opt for powder coat as Mr IGH recommends.

Having said that, I can also say that everybody should enjoy painting a bike at least once. I just finished clear coating a frame that I have been working on. I have a decent HVLP gun and enough experience to understand the variables (thinner type and amount, spray pressure and pattern, paint flow, etc.) as well as having painted a dozen or so bikes. Even so, I have never been able to do a perfect job. There are so many surfaces to hit that you are bound to get a bit of roughness on non-target surfaces due to over spray. Depending on the paint, this can usually be rubbed out, but that takes time and effort.

Good luck.
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Old 09-25-16, 05:34 PM
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You can do a good job with a rattle can but if you want a top job, I also recommend using 2-pack clear coat on top. Here I used 2 cans of USC SPRAYMAX 2K which is about $20 a can and duplicolor auto paint on a Benotto beater I did a couple years ago (and was promptly stolen) and the paint in the pics is dry, not wet.
But saying this, I've also done quite a few bikes and the cost of paint, stickers, sand paper etc came in at about $100 plus hours or labor so if you want a reliable job, I say go the powder coat route.
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Old 09-25-16, 09:40 PM
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If you don't particularly value the bikes, you can strip and polish one of the aluminum frames

It's easier than doing a quality DIY paint job. But it is still tedious

Here is a stripped cannondale. Your welds will not look this good




The shine fades and needs to be repolished or it will look like this:

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Old 10-06-16, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
If its going to be a show off type bike disassemble the bike and have somebody else do it. An auto place, motorcycle place, even consider having it powder coated if you can. It would depend on budget as well for me.


FWIW I have always wanted to chrome a bike....think it would be BA!!
My first MTB was a Giant in a smoke chrome finish about 15 years ago,it was indeed BA, unfortunately my FAT ass didn't spend enough time on it to truly appreciate it and I eventually gave it away
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Old 10-06-16, 09:06 AM
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Ever painted anything before ? if not; 90% of a good job is surface prep, 10% is applying the paint.
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Old 10-06-16, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by bluehills3149 View Post
You can do a good job with a rattle can but if you want a top job, I also recommend using 2-pack clear coat on top. Here I used 2 cans of USC SPRAYMAX 2K which is about $20 a can and duplicolor auto paint on a Benotto beater I did a couple years ago (and was promptly stolen) and the paint in the pics is dry, not wet.
But saying this, I've also done quite a few bikes and the cost of paint, stickers, sand paper etc came in at about $100 plus hours or labor so if you want a reliable job, I say go the powder coat route.
Yes the 2k clear coat is excellent. But I would start out using the 2k Primer as well. And stay away from "Hardware Store" paints for your Colour coats. Find a quality Auto shop that will mix Colours in an aerosol. Most of them use an omni directional nozzle as the ordinary ones tend to splatter. I also suggest heating the cans in hot tap water before using.
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Old 10-06-16, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
Buy a cheap old bike off craigslist that already looks like junk. Strip it and try painting it. If you get good results, you'll probably be able to flip it for about what you put in to it. If it looks like total junk, you won't have trashed a good bike, and you can look into decals, blingy rims, and anodized parts.
I have been rattle can painting bikes for 50 years. Hundreds of bikes I would guess. Some of the early ones being done as a 10 year old were not the best I have to admit. That being said they always looked better than when I started though. As an adult I mostly used automotive paints and in most cases used a clear over them. If you are going for just a basic one color bike without a lot of blends and stripes and graphics I would not rank the task of DIY painting all that hard. I personally see no reason to take the old finish down to bare metal. When you get a ding in your car they donít remove all the paint on the panel. Automotive primer is more of a filler material than anything else. They put it on and then do what is called blocking it out. using big flat board sanders, they use the primer to fill in the low spots until the surface is blocked or flat / uniform contour.

The suggestion of practices on an old or junk frame is a great idea. I would sand enough to remove all the surface finish of the paint that is on there and then switch to finer and finer papers until it is good enough for what you want. If there are deep chips and such and you go to bare metal and then prime and sand and prime and sand until the surface is blocked. Then give the whole frame a primer coat and finish sand. The reason for that is when it is all the same color and surface finish you will see things you couldnít with different colors. If you see some problems, then work them out until you say good enough.

Get all the dust off the frame and out of the air and room you are working in. then hang the frame by a cord so you can easily get to all of it to spray mask where paint isnít wanted with blue painters tape. The biggest problem is putting too much paint on at once. Plan on many light coats and you donít have to wait all that long for going over a freshly painted area the paint will blend into paint without runs if you give it a few seconds to tack up. I doubt you will have to paint the whole practice frame before you will get the hang of rattle can painting. Watch for spatter as paint will get a drip built up on your finger tip or the nozzle. Wipe it off before it spatters. If you are happy with the job put clear over it if not you can wet sand it with the finest of papers and then clear it or give it another coat.

If you can find the orange you want in an epoxy paint that stuff is really tough an I would try that. I painted some tractor parts with it and it really holds up.

I really like the color Allis Chalmers Orange and if I wanted an orange bike thatís what I would be using.

The paint job isnít going to be a show piece or a wall hanger but it will be the best looking orange bike around and one you will be proud of doing it yourself and riding.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional painter in any way just a DIY guy that would never in a million years pay $300 to have a bike painted just to ride. And all the bikes I own are just to ride. If you are really going for a show bike then seek advice from the pros. I have a friend that sent his bike away and paid $2000 to have the frame restored and painted. It was a fancy vintage bike and it hangs on the wall of his den now looking like the day it was built.
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